Ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and influences every aspect of life on our planet. It is home to an incredible diversity of bacteria, plankton, invertebrates, and vertebrates (fish, mammals, birds, reptiles) and other ocean organisms. Oceans help moderate Earth’s climate by absorbing heat and slowing its movement. They also regulate Earth’s water cycle by supplying oxygen and storing carbon dioxide. In addition, the ocean is a source of food for billions of people worldwide. Fish, especially, are an important part of the diets of many nations. Oceans also provide other forms of marine protein, such as mollusks and algae. And, they are a source of oxygen – in the form of dissolved ozone and by phytoplankton, which are small plant-like creatures that live in the sea and use photosynthesis to turn sunlight into energy.
The oceans are filled with a variety of marine plants and animals, but they’re also important for the health and survival of humans, too. In fact, humans depend on the ocean for about 16% of the global food supply. Fish is one of the main sources of animal protein, and it provides vital vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to billions of people around the world. In addition, other types of seafood such as mollusks and shellfish and plants like seaweed are valuable parts of the human diet.
Seafood also provides a source of income for millions of people around the globe. The ocean is a rich natural resource for recreation, too. It offers many opportunities for boating, sailing, surfing, diving, and other recreational activities. In addition, the ocean is a habitat for a wide range of birds and other wildlife.
The oceans are a vast, mysterious place and the science of oceanography is still relatively young. However, we are beginning to understand more about the ways that the oceans work and how they interact with other systems. This understanding can help us to better manage the oceans, protect marine biodiversity, and improve human well-being.